For years, San Sebastián was the ultimate place to see and be seen. Aristocrats in search of seaside vacations flocked to this city known for its parties, games, and perfect surf, but things weren’t always easy in San Sebastián, Take a walk and learn about the city’s trials, its Belle Époque, and why it’s still awesome today.
Get a taste of San Sebastián’s past, present, and future on a walking tour that will show you the city’s many faces. Explore the areas that have helped to shape the evolution of the city and learn why this destination has always been a favourite spot for socialites and surf seekers alike.
Your walking tour will start at Portaletas, one of the most characteristic (and okay, we’ll admit it, one of our favourite) places in San Sebastián, located at the crossroads of the old town and fishing district. A visit here is your 101 lesson to understanding San Sebastián’s past and present, and its transformation from fishing port to summer resort.
We’ll head from the port and through the battlefield of Monte Urgull before moving to the modern part of the city, where glamour and new world architecture meet. We’ll explore along the Urumea River and visit the Gros district, crossing a bridge that’s got some stories to tell: from the European aristocracy who crossed it to visit the casino, to the Hollywood stars that crossed it on their way to movie fesitvals, to modern-day vacationers heading to the shore to admire intrepid surfers.
Your San Sebastián tour will next lead you to the residential ensanche, the city expansion that was built when the old city walls where demolished, and that is today a fascinating commercial area for fashionistas and those who want to understand everyday life in a Basque city. You’ll see the cathedral before heading to La Concha Bay, a favourite spot for European summer vacations, and a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.
And for a total now-and-then experience, you’ll see firsthand how San Sebastián has changed via old photographs compared with real-life tour stops (and with the help of some modern tablet technology). Want to recreate your own aristocrat or Hollywood socialite pose? We’ll help you with Instagram-worthy stops where you can mirror old views today — and we’ll even send you home with your own digital copies of retro photographs.